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Race identity incompatible with autonomy and liberty

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 07-31-2013 | in Government, Race, Democracy, Human Relations, Critical Thinking, Freedom,

NerdWallet reported Vallejo, California the most diverse city in the United States of America based on data from the U.S. Census. The website reported growing diversity in America as a source of pride among residents. The survey based diversity claims on federal government race classifications -"As of June 2012, people of color constituted 36% of the workforce." However, diversity claims based on ignorance and bigotry are cause for concern about Americans' reasoning ability and not pride.

People that claim pride in race identity have surrendered self-image and individual autonomy for group image and subordination to a unified force external to them. Racial groups with a distinctive genetic set not shared by any others do not exist in nature. Anthropology and genetic science discredited assertions of inborn or learned racial-group culture or behavior.

Racists-people that believe human race difference- credit common abilities and culture to black-race people of Africa, brown-race people of Asia, and white-race people of Europe based on similar physical traits among members. They even argue that research shows more common genetic traits among people on the same continent and among declared racial-group members than with populations of other continents. This is a specious argument given human methods of reproduction.

Humans reproduce by female and male sexual union with each parent contributing half the genetic material for the new human. Obviously, this reproduction method creates a new person different from either parent. Therefore, certain genes will predominate in populations where parents chose mates from a limited gene pool, like a continental area. Nevertheless, individuals in those populations show genetic differences.

Nature is not impulsive and does not produce inconsistent results. Results that nature creates when certain material and forces are present are always the same. Nature produces humans of different physical traits from the presence of certain genetic material. No matter differences in physical appearance, members of all populations have the ability to learn language, culture, and knowledge of other populations. This shared ability is evidence of one human species that share genetics of reasoning ability and adaptability.

All life on Earth has ability survive. Autonomous (self-directed) individuals improved survival potential when grouped as families to secure food, shelter, safety and to advance their general welfare. Families formed communities as equal humans sharing and exchanging units of production. Losses of individual autonomy and liberty developed as communities grew in size and some members sought to enrich themselves off the labor of others. History reports periods of political unification that advanced powers of the State (monarchs, dictators, religious leaders, even democracies) over the people by destroying individual autonomy. Commonly, a monarch and nobility exercised political power and privilege at the top and serfs as a featureless labor commodity at the bottom.

Citizens of the new American Republic had goals and the opportunity to restore individual autonomy and liberty. Instead, they yielded to greed and racism to continue authority of the State over the people. Owners of large plantations lacked the power to force race identity and enslavement on other individuals. They used the Constitution to extended State power over human rights of the people. The State used its powers to deprive people of liberty and the right of property-ownership of their body based on race classification. States limited voting rights only to male property owners. This disenfranchisement of working-class wage earners without property made them subordinate to wealthy property owners and not free. Eventually, States changed laws to enfranchise all white-race-labeled males.

After the Civil War, capitalists attacked human and civil rights protections in Amendments 14 and 15. Through the U.S. Supreme Court, they redefined the meaning of the 14th Amendment's mandate for equal protection under the law for all natural born and naturalized citizens. The Supreme Court reinterpreted the Amendment to grant corporations rights of a person. It reinstalled consideration of race in law by upholding State laws of racial segregation (separate but equal).

Some people protested the person status for corporations, but society allowed laws of racial segregation without much protest. Blinded by the emotional lure of racism and exhilaration from ideas of white-race-supremacy, most Americans at the time did not see that both Court rulings advanced the powers of capitalists over members of the working class.

Capitalists' achieved multiply goals from racial segregation laws. They disenfranchised and subordinated the recently freed people and kept them captive as cheap labor. However, low wages for any group of workers affects the bargaining power and wages of all workers. Therefore, white-race-labeled workers harmed their economic interests by supporting the brutal economic oppression of black-race-labeled workers. Capitalist pocked the wealth and white-race-labeled workers enjoyed the white race identity and power to degrade other humans.

Capitalists owned the corporations. They gained more influence over government with corporations classified as persons. Expanding corporate power met little opposition during the 20th Century from Southern voters that showed more interest about extending laws of racial segregation and oppression of black-race-labeled people than other issues.

American racism took an ironic twist during the 1960s. American society had made great advances for equality of opportunity after Congress approved 1964 Civil Rights Act, and 1965 Voting Rights Act. Then, some people previously targeted for economic, political, and legal oppression based on skin color and black-race-classification yielded to the emotional lure of race identity and racism. They supported the movement for African-American racial and cultural identity for them. They acted against self-interest of equality of opportunity. "A rose by any other name would smells as sweet." Racial segregation, economic, political, and legal inequality by any other name is as oppression.

My bitter disappointment on learning of the African-American movement continues today. I never embraced race for an identity. Even as a child, I recognized the intellectual trap of group thinking and the loss of personal identity. I wrote a book, "African-Americans and Other Myths, Confusing Racism with Cultural Diversity (1994) that warned of the negative results of adopting the African-American race identity.

As I expected, society supported the African-American Movement and used it as the foundation for claims of culture diversity of race (policy of separate-but-equal race segregation). Now government, writers, and society in general refer to a "White majority and black and other minority groups of color. In other words, only white-race-labeled people are of American culture.

As Americans remain distracted by race and ethnicity, capitalists and corporations are reducing the working class, 85 percent of Americans, to serfdom. The flow of wealth continues mainly to the upper 10 percent of families while employment, wages, and benefits for workers decline. Rights to vote and to own weapons are the people's most potent weapon against the State and capitalists power. Voting power of an aware and educated citizenry can overcome capitalists' excessive influence over government. Nevertheless, they must act before legislators destroy the power of the vote.

After America passed the Fifteenth Amendment that guaranteed voting rights without race restrictions, legislators in Southern states used poll taxes, intelligence tests, and intimation to nullify the voting rights of black-race-labeled Americans. A fact not well known to Americans is that those restrictions applied to white-race-labeled voters too. Many of them also were uneducated and poor. Those legal hindrances to voting permitted political party bosses to control election results by easing qualifications for voters that sided with them.

The Supreme Court and political bosses are attacking working class voters' access to voting booths again. The Court nullified sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that restricted State's authority to draft unfair voting law. Immediately, politicians seized the opportunity to pass laws that make it inconvenient for working-class citizens to vote. They do so with a wink to white-race-labeled citizenry that "we are reversing political gains made by those "black" folk." Nevertheless, those hindrances apply to all voters and inconvenience low-income areas most. This time those sneaky attacks on liberty and voting met more opposition from current voters that are more knowledgeable about threats to their liberty, economic and political rights.

I believe most Americans are fair-minded and they want to end inequality of opportunity based on race classifications. Nevertheless, they are confused about race claims. Most of them believe in race difference and support policies for equality of opportunity among the races. However, race is a fantasy and social construction. Therefore, the belief of race difference is a prejudice. Nature is not impulsive. It only produces the results of the material and forces present and not what people believe them to be. Prejudice and false belief about race difference will produce negative results for American society no matter how sincerely Americans want a different result. They must evaluate and change beliefs about race. Despite reasoned conclusions against them, people have difficult time discarding beliefs and conclusions with strong emotional attachments.

Paula Deen and American culture of racism

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 06-29-2013 | in Ethics, Race, Human Relations, Critical Thinking,

Paula Deen is a southern food cooking specialist, writer, and host of "Paula's Home Cooking" on the Food Network. She admitted in a legal deposition using the N-racist-slur long ago. In addition, she admitted allowing racial slurs in the workplace and quoting workers remarks with N-racial-slur in them. The Food Network and other business declined to renew her contract. Now Deen and many defenders protest the strong response against her remarks is unfair. However, she reaped the product of her racist seeding.

A main defense for Deen, born in Georgia in 1947, is that she is the product of the racist social environment of the South characterized by ideas of white supremacy and racial oppression. In other words, she entered adulthood unaware of higher moral standards for conduct. I reject this self-serving argument. The American States approved the Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776 about 200 years before her adulthood. It set out principles of human equality and rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that were self-evident to reasoning and moral people. Deen could have embraced those reasoning and moral principles.

True, from goals of greediness, most founders did support racism and savagery of slavery in the Constitution. However, the United States fought a Civil War to preserve the Union. Afterward, it approved the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865 that outlawed slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 secured equality of treatment for all natural-born and naturalized citizens without consideration of race. The rebelling states agreed to abide by the new constitutional amendments as a condition of rejoining the Union. Many of them accepted the benefits of reinstated American citizenship and then reneged on their oath to treat all citizens equally under the law.

Many people in the South wanted vengeance for their Civil War defeat. They lacked the courage and means to seek it against the American government leaders or American Army that had weaponry to fight back. Instead, they subjected Freed Americans to a culture of racism and terrorism as surrogates for Northern leaders. This harsh culture of racial oppression included language of belittlement that attacked the emotions and self-image of Freed Americans. This culture of revenge compelled Freed Americans to act submissively in the presence of a white-race-labeled person or face physical attack, arrest, mutilation, or death for noncompliance.

Only a contradiction of logic supported this surrogacy for culpability. "Without weapons, political power, or economic power, Freed Americans of an inferior black race caused the humiliating defeat of superior white-race Southerners." Therefore, to gain satisfaction from taking vengeance on the surrogates, those Southern rebels had to ignore the inconsistency of their assertions and convince themselves of Freed Americans' blameworthiness.

Self-deception requires people to give emotion control over reason. Southerners dispensed with reason and convinced themselves they were victims of Freed Americans' actions with the potential for more harm. They reacted with an 85-year reign of terror (about 1880 to 1965) on Freed Americans in the South inclusive of lynching, burning at the stake, maiming, dismemberment, castration, and other brutal methods of physical torture. "N-racial-slur" was the label for their victims and is the word that expresses this attitude of permissive cruelty and hatred.

Those are the ideas Deen and others evoke and support when they utter "N-racial-slur." However, she and her supporters trivialize the history of cruelty and inhumanity it symbolizes with the defense that she is the victim of political correctness and intolerance for an honest mistake of saying it. Deen's defenders also claim a double standard, because, "Black people call one another N-racial-slur all the time." They contend that society should not hold Deen accountable for past conduct, because she apologized for it.

Deen had a choice of moral standards. She chose to venerate a period in history of degenerate American racism and cruelty. I will not give Deen a pass for her conduct based on an apology, because I do not believe in apology. An apology is only an assertion of new values or conclusions and promise of different future conduct. No matter its sincerity, an apology does not change the effects of intentional bad conduct. An apology for accidental events of which the person had no discretion is meaningless.

Race is a social construction in America and the foundation for racism. Nevertheless, the emotional and financial costs to the targets of racism are real. "N-racial-slur" is a verbal assault of belittlement that causes emotional distress in people susceptible to it. Some people display confusion or emotional damage from assault of racism by referring to themselves as N-racial-slur in the degrading language of their tormentors. I liken them to people that engage in self-injury like cutting themselves. It is an unhealthy way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger, and frustration. Nevertheless, no rational or moral person presumes an equal right to inflict more harm on someone that engages in self-injury.

I never heard of Paula Deen before this accusation of racism confirmed by her remarks and conduct. Nevertheless, I am pleased to see public condemnation of this conduct as an effective way to end expressions of bigotry. Laws alone will not effect change so long as most Americans support bigotry by their silence.

I do not suggest that racism is common only in the South or that only the people in the defeated Southern states were responsible for the reign of violence and intimidation of Freed Americans. I suspect America's national leaders permitted it to happen as a catharsis for post-Civil War tensions among white-race-labeled Americans. They had to recognize the culture of savagery in their midst. After all, during the 85 years of post-Civil War cruelty, the United States defeated Nazi Germany in World War II to uncover and prevent Nazi Holocaust of Jews and other Europeans the Nazi classified as not Aryans. Nevertheless, United States' leaders allowed prolonged acts of racial cruelty and death to continue in the South with impunity for the torturers, murderers, and assaulters for at least another two decades after fighting a war to stop similar conduct in Europe.

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